Dame Gillian Barbara Lynne, DBE (née Pyrke; born 20 February 1926) is a British ballerina, dancer, choreographer, actress, and theatre/television director, noted for her popular theatre choreography associated with the musical Cats and the current longest running show in Broadway history, The Phantom of the Opera. She was made a DBE (Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2014 New Year Honours List.
- "The Choreographing of Cats" by Gillian Lynne, from Cats: The Book of the Musical (1981)
- "Omnibus episode", a documentary about Lynne's work with the original London production of Cats (1982)
June 2016 - The Stage - ‘I’d like to murder’: Gillian Lynne gets claws out over Cats snub
Gillian Lynne has slammed the US production of Cats for replacing her choreography, claiming the musical will bear no resemblance to the original creative team’s vision.
(Note: the article is behind a paywall. Text reproduced here.)
..."When she turned her hand to choreography, she was known as the woman to go to if you needed ‘sexy’. The musical Cats wouldn’t have been half as saucy, she admits, with a throaty giggle, without her.
‘I remember saying to the cast of Cats that we wanted it to be the sexiest show ever. I told them that our aim was to make people jump up from their seats, rush home and leap into bed to make love.’
She giggles about how the steaminess spilled over into real life.
‘All our sexual energy went into that show. Trevor Nunn [the director] fell in love with one of the dancers. So did the designer John Napier.’ Then there was the big theatrical romance that blossomed ‘right under my nose’, the one between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sarah Brightman.
‘We all saw it unfold,’ she says. ‘It was inevitable. Sarah had this peerless voice, and Andrew was smitten.’
When Cats went global, however, some countries took the sexiness too far. She says she was horrified when she watched the French version. ‘For it to be sexy, there has to be mystery. I felt they crossed a line."
For her work on Cats, Gillian Lynne received the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Musicals, the Austrian Silver Order of Merit and the French Moliére Award. She was nominated for both the Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for her choreography of Cats.
In 2013, Gillian Lynne received the Special Olivier Award for her Lifetime achievement.
- The New London Theatre, where the Original London Production of Cats played for 21 years, was officially renamed the Gillian Lynne Theatre in 2018